Arlington's Culpepper Gardens Loan Approved

The average age at Culpepper Gardens is in the late 70s, around 78. You must be 62 to live there, and a few residents have passed 100. But don’t think for a second that life isn’t spry in Arlington’s only affordable retirement home. For a service day on Martin Luther King Day, County Board member John Vihstadt worked calling Bingo at a game between the residents and a local Girl Scout troop, and said the elderly residents were locked in a fight to the finish with their younger competition.

At the County Board meeting on Jan. 30, the board approved a $10 million loan to the Arlington Housing Investment Fund to provide rental assistance to the residents of Culpepper Gardens and fund renovations.

There are 210 affordable units at the site, 208 of them affordable at 60 percent of area median income and two units affordable at 80 percent of area median income. The rent is supplemented with Housing and Urban Development Vouchers and County Housing Grants. The site, originally built in the 1970s, is undergoing a 14-stage renovation expected to be completed by 2020. The total project budget is $59 million, paid for with tax exemptions, tax credit equity, funding from the Virginia housing trust, property seller loans and deferred developer fees.

“This project is not only efficiently financed, but I think we do a disservice if we don’t reiterate that Culpepper Gardens is the only game in town to serve a population that couldn’t be more vulnerable,” said County Board member Christian Dorsey. “It’s a population that deserves more than most to be treated with generosity.”

“There are a number of things that make me proud to live in Arlington,” said County Board member Libby Garvey. “Culpepper Gardens is one of them.”

The loan request was unanimously approved.

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